Brought to you by OBS reviewer Kayt
The Truth is No Fairy Tale.
I am not the sort of person about whom stories are told. Those of humble birth suffer their heartbreaks and celebrate their triumphs unnoticed by the bards, leaving no trace in the fables of their time….
And so begins Elise Dalriss’s story
When she hears her great-granddaughter recount a tale about a beautiful princess awakened by a handsome prince, it pushes open a door to the past, a door Elise has long kept locked. For Elise was the companion to the real princess who slumbered – and she is the only one left who knows the truth of what happened so many years ago.
As the memories start to unfold, Elise is plunged back in to the magnificent world behind the opulent palace walls. Fleeing a hardscrabble existence and personal tragedy, she builds a new life for herself as a servant to the royal family and quickly rises within the castle hierarchy. As Elise proves herself a loyal confidante, she is drawn into the lives of an extraordinary cast of women: a beautiful queen who wakes each morning with tears on her pillow, an elderly spinster who in heartache shuts herself away, a princess who yearns to be free, and the ambitious and frightening sister who cannot accept the fact that she will never rule. Elise has guarded their secrets – and her own – for a lifetime. While Beauty Sleeps is her story.
In this rich and compelling novel of love and terror, friendship and fate, we are introduced to a heroine of extraordinary determination – the true heart of a legend – who reveals what it really takes to reach happily ever after.
This is a wonderful retelling of an age old fairy tale that gives plausibility to the story. It seems that retooling fairy tales has become the new thing, yet most do not live up to the old standard. While Beauty Slept does more than justice to the tale of Sleeping Beauty, it brings more character and life to the story. Not only does this book explain the story, it also adds more twists and turns to it to bring even more life to that wonderful story.
Elise Dalriss hears her great granddaughter telling her siblings a story she heard in town. Elise knows this story as it is one she actually lived. She recounts her life from her humble beginnings to her life at the castle. The reader is drawn in as it unfolds. The characters are well developed and engaging. Castle life is described in detail that entertains and delights the reader. Characters that are familiar to those who know Sleeping Beauty, are brought to life with more detail and explanations of how and why things happened.
I would recommend While Beauty Slept to anyone that enjoys the retelling of fairy tales or the interesting comings and goings of castle life. Elise is a wonderful character that draws the reader in and tells her story with love and care. I am not usually a fan of the usual retelling of fairy tales, but this one is exceptionally well done. Elizabeth Blackwell’s writing style is enjoyable and delightful. Anyone that enjoys historical novels will like this one as well. It tells the tale of Sleeping Beauty in a way that it could have actually happened. A pleasant surprise for sure.